Bob is a sought after speaker at company leadership and sales conferences, sharing the platform with everyone from today's business leaders and broadcast personalities, to even a former US president. Bob is the author of a number of books on sales, marketing, and influence, with total book sales of well over a million copies. His book The Go-Giver, coauthored with John David Mann itself has sold over 975,000 copies and has been translated into 29 languages. His and John's newest parable and the Go-Giver Series is the Go-Giver influencer. Bob is an advocate, supporter, and defender of the free enterprise system, believing that the amount of money one makes is directly proportional to how many people they serve. He is also an unapologetic animal fanatic and is a past member of the board of directors of Furry Friends Adoption Clinic and Ranch in his town of Jupiter, Florida.
Can you share with our listeners that may not be familiar with the Go-Giver? What is the premise of the book, what it's all about?
It's a parable co-authored with John David Mann, who is just a fantastic writer. I'm kind of the How to person and he's the storyteller of the team, although he's a great entrepreneur himself. But the premise is really, that shifting your focus, and this is really where it begins shifting your focus, from getting to giving and when we say giving in this context, we simply mean constantly and consistently providing immense value to others. Understanding that doing so is not only a more pleasant way of conducting business, it's actually the most financially profitable way as well. And not for some way out there woo-woo type of magical mystical reasons, not at all it's actually very logical when you think about it. When you're that person who is able to take your focus off yourself and place it on others, making their lives better, helping them solve their problems, discovering what they want, need, desire, and helping them to get it well, you know, obviously people feel good about you. They want to get to know you, they like you, they trust you, they want to be a part of your life, your business. They're more likely to want to be your personal walking ambassadors.
So you've got the five laws. Can you share a little bit more about that give us a high-level overview of what exactly that is?
Sure, the laws themselves are the laws of value, compensation, influence, authenticity, and receptivity. The law of value is really all about making the buying experience so extraordinary for that other person that they feel as though they receive much more than what they paid for, which they did in terms of the actual value which is different from price right? Price is a dollar figure, value is the sort of relative worth or desirability of a thing of something to the end-user or beholder. What is it about this thing, this product, service, concept that brings so much worth or value to you that you will willingly exchange your money for it and feel great about it. It's like going to a restaurant and maybe it's a high price restaurant, and the bill is a high bill but the deliciousness of the food, the presentation, the exquisite service, the ambiance, the way the wait staff takes care of you, and makes you feel, every single thing about that restaurant is just wow. So you may have paid $150 or $200, but you come away feeling like a couple $1,000! So you got more than what you paid for and yet the restaurant owner, obviously, their costs are less than what they charge for the food. So they made a very nice profit themselves. So the law of value is all about providing that exquisite experience so the other person feels great about it, and you make a great profit as well. The law of value says that your income is determined by how many people you serve, and how well you serve them. So it's not enough for the restaurant owner to have, you know, one customer, right? They obviously need to serve or impact the lives of many, many, many diners, in order to make a very healthy income and it's the same with all of us. Law number three, the law of influence says your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people's interests first. This one's sort of important to go into a little bit only because it can easily be misconstrued. When we say, place the other person's interests first, we do not mean that you should be anyone's doormat, right? It's simply understanding as Joe the protege and the story learned from several of the mentors. The Golden Rule of business is that all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust. There's no faster, more powerful, or more effective way to elicit those feelings toward you, in others, than by genuinely moving from that "I" focus or "me" focus to that "other" focus, making your win all about their win. Law number four, the law of authenticity says the most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself. In the story, one of the mentors, Deborah shared a very important lesson that all the skills in the world, the sales skills, technical skills, people skills, as important as they are, and they are very important. They're also all for not if you don't come at it from your true authentic core. But when you do when you show up as yourself day after day, week, after week, month after month, you inspire trust in people, people feel very comfortable with you, they feel very safe with you, they begin to know, like, love, and trust you and want to be in relationship with you. Law number five, the law of receptivity says that the key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving and this really means nothing more than, you know you breathe out, but you also have to breathe in. It's not one or the other, it's both. You breathe out carbon dioxide, breathe in oxygen, breathe out which is giving, breathe in which is receiving. Unfortunately, we learn so many negative messages from the world around us regarding money, prosperity, business, and so forth, that it really gets into the subconscious, the unconscious, and it's very easy to kind of put unconscious roadblocks in terms of money just because of the horrible messages. So what we'd like people to know is that giving and receiving are not opposite concepts. Giving and receiving are simply two sides of the very same coin and they work in tandem. It's not are you a giver or a receiver. You're a giver and a receiver. But what you know is that in life, the giving comes first right the giving value. As long as that's your focus, and then you allow yourself to receive, now you're in a position of real strength, prosperity, and abundance.
What's the best way to find a mentor and what recommendations would you have to someone that is trying to find one overall?
Well, I think finding a mentor is a great idea because the right mentor can cut your learning curve time by years. It's not always necessarily easy to find one, but it's certainly absolutely doable. What I would suggest, first of all, is if you can find someone who has been successful in that business already, that's a plus so long as this person also has similar values as you and the style that you would want to emulate. But it's not necessary in terms of mentorship that this person necessarily is in, or has been in the business that you're in. It could be a mentor in terms of life, principles, and strategies, and so forth. So again, it really depends on the situation, but in terms of seeking out a mentor, my feeling is that you want to go about it in a way that you understand that a mentor-protege relationship is just that it's a relationship and it takes time to develop. I see so many people who will approach someone who they respect and who they'd like to mentor them and say something like, "Hey, I really need a mentor, would you be my mentor?" And I think when doing that, it doesn't create the environment where that person really wants to, because first of all if you're asking them, there's a good chance lots of other people are asking them. They're busy people, and they've got lots of people who want their time, who basically want their free advice is what it comes down to. When you just ask someone to be your mentor, you don't distinguish yourself as anyone's special, so I wouldn't approach it that way. I'd be more inclined to approach it more humbly and in a way that creates an environment where that person wants to take their time with you. So you can really approach anyone like that who you admire, and simply say, "Listen, I know you're very busy, and if this is not something you have the time to do, or even the desire to do totally, totally understandable, but I'm wondering if I might ask you one or two very specific questions?" Now, when you approach the person, that way, you're doing a few different things. One, you're acknowledging the fact that this is very special and that you're making a big ask. So you're approaching with respect, you're giving this person in or out or back door, you're letting know right away that if this is just something they don't have time to do, or just would rather not, you totally understand. When you do this, it doesn't come across as untitled, it comes across more as someone who understands what you're asking, and that person is much more likely to want to do this for you. But here's the other thing. You didn't ask, you know, "Will you be my mentor?" What you instead said was, "May I ask you one or two very specific questions." What this tells the person is that you are someone who has your act together, you have a plan, you have an agenda. When I say agenda, in this case, I mean that in a good way, you know, you're not just going to come in to try to pick his brain or pick her brain, no, you actually have very specific questions. So they're much more likely to take you seriously and be willing to either sit down with you, or Skype, or zoom or, be on the phone with you, or whatever it is. First of all, what I'd suggest is to make sure you have totally researched this person. So you, first of all, you don't ask them anything the answer to which you could have easily looked up which of course, that will be very counterproductive to the relationship. But so you asked you know a couple of questions, you don't take much of their time, you thank them for their time, and let them know how much you appreciate it and you look forward to applying their wisdom, and that very day I would write a handwritten, personalized thank you note. Then also that day, I would make a small donation to their favorite charitable cause, which again, you should be able to find just by researching them. Let's say they're very big on animals with their local animal shelter or something and so you make a small donation in their name, it will get back to them. Now you're not doing it to kiss up to the person, you're simply doing it too, again, communicate that you take this seriously, and how thankful you are for their time. So between the handwritten thank, you note and the donation, you've just made a good impression with this person. You can follow up a few weeks later or whatever with an email or maybe a text if that's how they want to be contacted, or a call and ask another question. Eventually, if a mentor-protege ongoing relationship is supposed to occur, it will. If not, it won't. Don't be emotionally attached to that happening, you might have a whole bunch of one-time meeting many mentors until you find one that's going to be your eventual mentor, but you never know.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
Well, I think the best networking experience is simply when you successfully establish a potential relationship. Networking is really the cultivating of mutually beneficial give and take or give and receive win-win relationships with the emphasis obviously on the give. So when you go to a networking event, let's say and you meet someone, your entire plan should be to give value in terms of just making that person feel good about themselves. So when you can focus on their business and on what they do, and you ask them questions, and they're not salesy questions, prospecting questions, they're not intrusive, they're not invasive. But when you ask them what they do, and they tell you and you ask them how they got started in their business, that's such a great question, because nobody gets asked that question. And yet, you're asking them that question, and they appreciate that so much. Another great question to ask them what they enjoy most about what they do. Again, it's just a question that feels good to answer, and then don't worry about them not knowing what you do. They don't care right now. Your only goal at this networking function is to take the pressure off of yourself by taking the focus off of yourself, and instead focus on them. A wonderful question to ask, what I call the one key question that will separate you from the rest is to simply say, "How can I know if someone I'm speaking with would be a good client for you?" Again, you're totally communicating and creating value for them. You might set that up by saying to someone, "I always love connecting good people with other good people, tell me how can I know if someone I'm speaking with is a good potential customer for you?" Now, think about the impression you're making on that person when you do that. That's a good networking experience. When you come out when this person was happy to meet you and you can tell you really uplifted them and made their day. Now you want to make sure to get their contact information, just ask them for their business card at the end, they'll give it to you, and they'll ask you for yours and you give it to them. But really the big thing is you get theirs because then you're going to start the follow-up and follow-through process and send them that personalized handwritten note and you start from there. So a great networking experience isn't that you make a sale, that's hardly ever going to happen. The greatest networking experience is to just make a good connection.
So you started, you just touched on this a little bit, but how do one best nurture that network and that community that they have?
The first thing is I would send a personalized handwritten note to that person that day. Also if they're on LinkedIn or Facebook, you can always connect there as well and so forth. But what you really want to do over that next period of time is to, as you said, nurture that relationship. So when you can send information to them that they would find interesting not about your business, but you might know this person graduated from Notre Dame right and so you may look on the Notre Dame website, see what's happening, see if there's some information about Notre Dame that you can print out and send to them with a little note that just says, "Hey, I remember you saying you're you know, Fighting Irish fan and I saw this that you might be interested." Or you find something about their business that you might think would be a good prospect for them and you make a call and you do some research and find out who the contact person is and then you let them know. There's just there are so many ways, you can retweet a tweet of theirs, or repost a LinkedIn comment, so there are all sorts of ways that you can find to add value to another human being and develop that know like and trust relationship.
What advice would you offer that business professional who is really looking to grow their network?
I think to start now and begin making connections. Again, don't try to do it with everybody, but pick and choose and be open to everyone. Just get started I mean, it's really as simple as that.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
That's probably easy. I would tell 20 year old me, I'd say, "Young Bob Berg, shut up, talk less, listen much more, realize that pretty much everything you think you know that you're absolutely positively sure you know, just is not true." Because I really thought I knew it all back then.
Do you have any final words of advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
I think it's all you know, it all comes down to where your focus is. I always say, Be internally motivated, but outwardly focused. So when your focus can always be on bringing value to others, you're really always facing in the right direction. Because people respond to that, and so long as it comes from an authentic place, I think you really begin to develop those know like, and trust relationships, pretty big time.
Connect with Bob:
Bob’s Website: https://burg.com/
Check out the Go-Giver: https://thegogiver.com/